Staff Correspondent

KUDITINI (BELLARY DISTRICT): Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy laid the foundation stone for the second 500-MW unit of the Bellary Thermal Power Station (BTPS) here on Wednesday.

The second unit is estimated to cost Rs. 2,106 crore. Work on the first 500-MW unit is under way and is likely to be completed before March 2007.

Mr. Kumaraswamy allayed fears that setting up thermal plants would damage the environment. He said Rs. 7.5 crore would be spent on planting around 55 varieties of trees in Kuditini with the help of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad.

Minister for Energy and Public Works H.D. Revanna said the State Government had approved power projects to be set at up Kudigi, Bijapur, Kowshika, Hassan, Shaktinagar (RTPS), Nandur in Gulbarga, Mysore, and Ghataprabha in Belgaum with an investment of over Rs. 17,000 crore in the next five years. These projects, on completion, would generate an additional 4,000 MW.

Steps were being taken to improve the distribution system to ensure uninterrupted power supply in rural areas. He made it clear that local people would be employed at the Bellary thermal plant. He said the Government had approved the proposal for a four-lane road between Hospet and Bellary, besides considering the proposal for Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. to adopt Kuditini.

Anil Lad, Kudligi MLA, urged the Chief Minister to consider public-private partnership for the overall development of the district.

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